UNC Pembroke’s on-campus food pantry, the CARE Resource Center, won second place in the NC Collegiate Hunger Challenge, earning a check for $7,000 to support food insecurity initiatives.
The check was presented at the 2022 NC Campus Compact Presidents Forum by Food Lion.
NC Campus Compact hosted the challenge in partnership with Food Lion Feeds to raise awareness about poverty, hunger and food insecurity in North Carolina.
Director of Community & Civic Engagement Christie Poteet is excited about the opportunities that this award money will provide the CARE Resource Center.
“The $7,000 will make a significant impact on our ability to serve and meet the needs of our students and campus community,” Poteet said.
“Food insecurity is not unique to our campus or community, but we are committed to meeting the immediate need by providing food while also educating our campus community about the root causes of food insecurity and how we can work to alleviate hunger and poverty on campus and in our community.”
Participating institutions competed for prizes to support local hunger relief efforts. Hosting campus and community events, collecting MVP numbers, posting on social media and shopping points were all part of the competition.
Each institution identified an "MVP Student Hunger Ambassador" who leads the campaign and received a $500 stipend for their efforts. UNCP’s ambassador was Kiana Myers.
Myers shared her excitement for being chosen as UNCP’s MVP Student Hunger Ambassador. “Being a student ambassador for the Hunger Challenge was a great experience,” Myers said. Her experience allowed her to connect with others in the fight against hunger. “I was able to chat with students across North Carolina at different higher education institutions. We shared ideas and our planned events. It was impactful to see all these institutions coming together for a greater cause.”
Poteet shared how the hard work of her students makes a difference in the community. “Through the work of student service leaders like Kiana, we are making sure students are more aware of the many ways they can get involved in efforts to address food insecurity and work toward food justice. This happens through educational programs, partnerships with local organizations and campus departments, and direct service projects,” she said.
Myers spearheaded initiatives to promote the campaign. Among these initiatives was the SOUPer Bowl that was held during Parent & Family Weekend in partnership with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. This event was a huge success, with donations of over 750 pounds going to the CARE Resource Center. Additionally, there were tables set up in the University Center to collect Food Lion MVP numbers and educate students, faculty, staff and community members on how they can join CCE and the CARE Resource Center in fighting hunger.
A Hunger Banquet was also held in partnership with Oxfam, which brought poverty statistics to life and highlighted hunger and inequalities across the world. Randomly, guests select tickets that match high-, middle- or low-income earners. Their ticket determines the resources they receive during the event.
CCE also worked with the Lumberton Housing Authority to mentor school-aged kids. Mentors facilitated educational programming on the importance of healthy eating, emphasizing how nourishing the body can allow a person to make an impact on the world. Food Lion in Pembroke, North Carolina, donated turkeys for the kids and families.
In December, CCE provided Brave Boxes to 50 students and their families at Rex-Rennert Elementary School. The boxes included non-perishable foods, hygiene items and school supplies. It took a lot of cooperation from the campus and community to make the Brave Boxes a huge success.
“I am proud of the work Kiana and her peers did to successfully take on this challenge in order to address an important need and make a difference in the lives of others,” Poteet said.